Timothy McNerney (W&J Photo)


WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) – Three men have been ordered to stand trial on charges they mugged a standout western Pennsylvania football player and his friend, resulting in the player’s death.

A district judge on Wednesday determined there was probable cause supporting criminal homicide, robbery and other charges against Eric Wells, 24, of McDonald, and Troy Simmons, of East Pittsburgh, and Adam Hankins, of Washington, Pa., who are both 23, according to the (Washington) Observer-Reporter (http://bit.ly/16L78Ch ).

Wells’ attorney, Pete Marcoline, said after the hearing he’s “never seen a client more remorseful.”

Police have said Wells confessed to punching Timothy McNerney, 21, and knocking him to the ground Oct. 4. McNerney died of head injuries, either from being hit or hitting his head as he fell, a coroner determined.

Washington County prosecutors contend the defendants mugged McNerney and his Washington & Jefferson College teammate, taking McNerney’s wallet and smartphone, as he walked home from a bar about 2:30 a.m.

The phone’s GPS records led police to two of the three suspects’ homes, prompting them to file charges last week.

McNerney starred at Knoch High School, north of Pittsburgh, before attending the private, liberal arts college about 20 miles southwest of Pittsburgh.

“I just ran away,” McNerney’s teammate, Zachary Decicco, testified Wednesday. He suffered a broken nose and bruises but was able to escape the mugging and run for help.

According to criminal complaints, GPS records from McNerney’s phone show it was carried near Hankin’s home and Wells’ home shortly after the robbery. State police confronted the men with that information on Aug. 6, and both confessed and implicated Simmons, police said.

Wells acknowledged striking McNerney and said he got rid of the iPhone and burned the clothes he and Hankins wore, police said. Hankins told police that Wells tried to use McNerney’s credit card at a nearby convenience store.


Information from: Observer-Reporter, http://www.observer-reporter.com


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